Following a report yesterday that the European Commission was about to launch a formal investigation into Apple’s tax practices in Ireland, the EU has now officially announced the investigation at a press conference. Bloomberg reports that the investigation will include not just Apple, but also Starbucks and Fiat Finance & Trade SA and will look at “whether the tax deals in Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are illegal state aid.”
“Special secret deals should be outlawed across the EU,” Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, said in an e-mailed statement. “All tax breaks and reliefs should be openly available for qualifying businesses.”
“We need to fight against aggressive tax planning,” Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, said at a press conference in Brussels. He said it’s “still too soon to anticipate” possible recovery if the EU finds the tax rulings to be illegal.
Apple responded with a statement to Bloomberg following the news claiming that it “pays every euro of every tax that we owe” and that it “received no selective treatment from Irish officials.” Apple’s full statement is below:
“Apple pays every euro of every tax that we owe,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. “We have received no selective treatment from Irish officials. Apple is subject to the same tax laws as scores of other international companies doing business in Ireland.”
Apple last year faced a U.S. Senate hearing on its offshore tax practices in which it denied taking advantage of any tax loopholes in Ireland. The SEC also closed its own investigation without establishing any wrong-doing in October of last year.